Thursday, 20 October 2011


I am such a sloth. It’s incredibly embarrassing to admit, but housework and I are not on speaking terms. I’m the kind of person who can sweep a room with a glance and call it done. I think of “dust” as a noun, not a verb – in fact I adopt dust bunnies. I also hoard. These two in combination is not pretty.

However, in aid of Eve’s fund, I was forced to enter cupboards of doom yesterday. Cupboards that have been wedged closed and not opened in a decade. Cupboards I had to fight through sixteen boxes of stuff to get to. Boxes of stuff that eventually made me throw my hands up and exclaim heresy for. Heresy such as “WHO needs THIS many books????”.

I know I’ve mentioned the books on here before. Suffice to say that was several years ago; several years in which I have not disposed of a single book and have actually bought many, many, many more. Seriously… I estimated there are 5000 books in my bedroom alone. Yes, I checked the zeroes in that sentence. No I didn’t add an extra one.

However, I have decluttered now, and I have found loads of stuff that we will be selling at a car boot sale on Sunday. Weirdly enough, there isn’t a single book in there. Funny how that worked out. I tried, but they all whimpered and wanted a cuddle just at the thought of leaving home. I do, however, have a huge pile of “to be read” books, so it was worth it, eh?

(This started out as a diatribe against my houseworking skills and ended up being distracted by books. Pretty much as my housekeeping actually happened yesterday. Art imitating life and all that.)

Eve’s fund is on my blog, up on the right. Cheers, my lovelies!

Saturday, 15 October 2011

Eve’s Fairy Tale

Dawn is one of Babe’s best friends; she and Flower are in the same class at school (a year ahead of Babe because of the September split) and the three of them have a lot of fun together. I love bringing Babe into the playground every morning and hearing Dawn and Flower yell “Babe!” and they all hug and kiss each other and go off to play. After school, Flower and Dawn wait for Babe after class and they go haring off to play chase while we mums smile indulgently at them. Sometimes Flower and Babe run too fast for Dawn and they get told off; sometimes Dawn runs them down and she gets told off because she can really hurt them if her wheels go over their toes. Oh, did I forget that bit? Dawn uses a wheelchair.

I have used related pseudonyms all the way through my blog, so “Dawn” is really Eve. Eve has spina bifida and hydrocephalus. She is the happiest and most loving child you can imagine, although she has her moments – her body may be a bit battered but her mind is as sharp as a tack! She’s an incorrigible flirt and will bat her lashes at any man and pretend helplessness in order to get a carry and a cuddle. She’s pretty cool, actually.

eve 3 elm

This is Eve this summer at her aunt’s wedding and with Flower and Babe on Babe’s first day of school. She’s gorgeous, right?

She’s had so many operations and scans and needles and medical intervention her whole life that she can smell “hospital” on people now, which is pretty impressive.

Eve was at the hospital on Thursday and she needs more surgery. She needs to have her hip pinned because it is dislocated permanently. She needs to have both her feet in casts to try and pull them into shape. She needs botox in her feet. She has a lesion in her femur where her bones are becoming fibrous, which will lead to bone thinning, breakage, osteoporosis and all sorts of issues. And she’s only five.

There’s a way to slow down that bone thinning, you know. If she got a special bike she could exercise her legs in a safe way; school would dearly love her to get this bike, and the doctors say she needs it. Neither of them can pay for it and it costs over a thousand pounds. That’s really not a massive amount of money – if all of you reading this gave a pound, we’d be able to raise that easily. Over there, on your right at the top, there’s a button to donate to Eve’s exercise fund. If you wanted to, no pressure :)

Friday, 14 October 2011

This is not a panic post

So as you might have gathered from the oh-so casual use of the word “school” yesterday… where Babe is already failing tests, natch… Babe started school. Proper big school. Big School, peeps! And I’m all blasé, because it’s, like, school, meh, I’ve already seen a few kids through school, it ain’t no biggie, right?

Thing Two also started new BIG school this term. Big, like senior school. As I said, big school, not a big deal. Been there, done that, I got a kid already did that.

Thing One started her exam years at school, the proper big exams stage. No big deal, really. I’m cool, I’m laid back, I’m mellow, guys.

Thing One, y’know, she’ll be leaving school after her exams. Taking a driving test. Getting a job. Going to uni. Leaving home.

It’s okay.

I’ll just sit here in my corner, rocking, with my thumb in my mouth.

(School. How on earth is Babe at school? And how on earth is Thing Two at senior school? And how on earth am I talking about Thing One leaving school?)

Thursday, 13 October 2011


None of my kids have ever passed a hearing test. In fact, Babe failed one yesterday at school. We got A Letter About It. I'm pretty sure in my kids' cases it is because they are so damned ignorant laid back. The letter even said it may be a concentration fail. May??

I blame their father who also has selective hearing failure, but that’s usually a male gene. At least, it’s generally men who display it, right? But for some reason my entirely female offspring also display amazingly high skills at not hearing the words “bedtime”, “tidy up” “can you (do xyz)” and in fact anything with the words “no” or “stop”.

Thing One is going through a stage – please God, just a stage – of “emo-ism”. That’s Goth with Emotions to us oldies. She draws lovely images of blood dripping corpses and talks about death casually and dismissively. She has headphones permanently attached to her head while she listens to songs scream about angst and pain and whatever. I Do Not Like This in front of the Babe, who is impressionable and I frequently… daily… ask her to give it a rest. She is a typical know-it-all teenager though and dismisses my concerns.

Yesterday, Babe came home with a painting just for her big sister. It had the typical line of blue at the top and green at the bottom for the grass and sky. It had a grey blob and lots of red blobs. “That’s the rock and this is the blood where it killed someone.” Babe explains.

Thing One looks at me in horror, caught between laughter and remorse. “I am so sorry I did this to her!” she says.

Should have bloody listened to me, kiddo. Now I get to pay for counselling for the 30 kids in Babe’s class who saw this and it’s coming out of your pocket money!

“Eh?” she says, moving her earphones back into position with a grin.

Thursday, 25 August 2011

The Summer of D’Oh!

That’s been the predominant sound this month. I’ve been having a teeny tiny streak of… well, I would call it sheer coincidence and possibly a dollop or two bad luck. Big dollops. We’re talking horse sized. Elephant, even.

All Him Self can say is “Don’t touch ANYTHING.”

So far I have broken things that have broken in the house include:

The tumble dryer. Thank God it’s summer, eh? A British summer. Raining. So all my laundry is over radiators. Marvellous.

A laptop. Not mine, fortunately, the one the kids use. So no big loss. Except. Yannow. Summer. Kids are bored. They need to make plans with their friends (which is all done on facebook now. How time changes, huh? Even just two years ago they managed with texts.). They need to look up google timetables. Everything is done online, so they whine constantly and ask to use my comp to use the internet. Except…

The Whole Entire Internet. Or at least the part of it that comes to my house. None. Nada. Zilch. And it took our ISP DAYS to make an appointment to come out. So, I used a dongle instead – no, I’m not addicted, I can give it up anytime. I can use the telephone, unlike my daughters! Except…

(You know what’s coming now, right?)

The telephone. Let’s start with my mobile. For some reason, every text sent failed. I turned the phone on and off again. I removed the battery and sim. I checked the website for my phone. I checked the website for my network. I call Him Self* take a look. 5 hours later… yes, really, 5 hours… someone asked me if I had any credit. D’oh.

The Landline. Because, natch. I tried to call himself to whine about my mobile and had no dial tone. Hurrumph. So, that evening he fiddled and messed and moved this wire and snipped that wire and fixed the line.

The telephone. Refused to accept the fixed line and stubbornly refused to work. 24 hours of sweating, swearing and faffing followed. On the verge of getting a new one, Him Self finally figured out that the base station had forgotten to communicate with the handset. He inputted a code and all was well again.. All that stress for nothing.

My oven. Which is almost new so I’m not happy and taking this one further. In the meantime, cooking has become a real joy.

The bathroom light. I did wonder if there was a power surge or something because the light flared and dimmed and flared and dimmed… and then it was gone. Oh dear.

The kitchen light. It’s starting to become a joke now, everyone is pointing and laughing at me, so when Himself asks me to turn on the kitchen light I jokingly ask “Are you sure?” And then… <flicker> <flicker> <zzzzt> Yeah.

Oh, and the floods. I’m actually blaming the kitchen light on the floods. Twice… TWICE IN A MONTH… we ran the bath and forgot it and flooded the damn house so badly it literally streamed through the kitchen ceiling. Wet plaster stinks, fyi. And as an even more direct result of that:

The kitchen ceiling. Sigh.

Tomorrow, I am not getting out of bed.

Monday, 15 August 2011

Brightest Spark

You know that old trick… the one with the fingers. Hold your fingers out… okay.


   Now, count those fingers… 10, 9, 8, 7, 6… plus the 5 from your other hand. That’s eleven, right? You have eleven fingers!

  Thing Two frowned. “No, that’s not right,” she mutters. So, I do it again, but inadvertently pick up the other hand. 10, 9, 8, 7, 6… “No!” She cries, triumphant. “My other hand is the one with six fingers, so I have twelve!”


“Oh, man. I can’t believe I just said that.” she groans.

Brag. She matched her sister’s top scores in her Year 6 SATs. Looking at this, I really don’t know how…


Ureterocele surgery and reflux surgery here.

Thursday, 11 August 2011


Sleep, beloved, I was wrong. I can’t do without you. I miss you so much. The bed is lonely without you, I just lay there staring at the ceiling wishing you were with me. Let’s work this out?

Tuesday, 9 August 2011



Fine. I don’t need you anyway. I’m still a rock star and all that. I have caffeine. Yes I do. And coffee. Which is also caffeine. And chocolate. Ditto. And I can take the LOT. Just watch, I don’t need you at all!

And don’t even THINK of coming sniffing around me mid-afternoon anymore. There’ll be no sneaking off together ever again!

No love!


Monday, 8 August 2011


Dear Sleep,

What do you want me to do, beg? Fine! I’m begging! Come back to me. We used to be so good together, you and me. In bed, on the sofa, in the car…. We were just so compatible. I don’t know why you left me, but come back, we can work it out.

Me x

Saturday, 6 August 2011

Open Letters

Dear Sleep,
I don’t know what I did to offend you, but I am sincerely sorry. I don’t know why you won’t come see me anymore. I… I  miss you. Please come back.
Me x

Dear Bad Weather,
You, on the other hand, you I don’t miss. I am soaked. That thunder rattled the windows and made people scream. Some people thought it was a bomb and threw themselves to the floor. The floor that you had flooded. My sandals are ruined. Ankle deep water, I ask you. Gross. I need to dettox my feet now. You just stay the heck away from me. Tell your cousin, the Good Weather, that I miss HIM.
Me (no x!)

Thursday, 14 July 2011


Today, my middle daughter “graduated” from Primary School. This was her Leaver’s Assembly finale song. As they played it, they showed pictures of the class; as babies, as they are now and as they want to be as adults, dressed up as footballers and vets and rockstars. The children sang, and then it seemed as one, they burst into tears. They have spent seven years together, and now they will be going their own ways, leaving behind friendships and forging new ones in new schools. Random parents jumped up, handing tissues to whichever child was nearest, as the entire hall choked up. Our babies are growing up, and leaving us behind.

Afterwards, we were walking up a street and Thing Two saw some bollards. She has, since toddlerhood, found any wall or raised structure irresistible and naturally she leaped up to stand on the bollard. She wobbled and her hand came out, backwards, reaching. I put my hand up and caught hers until she got her balance, and then she let go and stood confident and proud perched on the pedestal.

As a metaphor, this would stand alone perfectly. However, all my heart could sing, while she stood there, was “For a second there, she still needed me.”

Monday, 9 May 2011


I had to be coerced to Facebook. Dragged to Blog. My last bastion was Twitter. I was adamant I wasn’t doing it. My friends fell for its lure one by one, and I stood firm. The slebs tweeted with abandon and I resisted. I had no intention of joining.

For starters, I don’t do anything interesting enough. I rarely write status updates on Facebook (except Farmville requests). I forget to blog – heck, I forget to call my mum. My life just isn’t that scintillating that I need to compress it to 140 character soundbites.

(Can you imagine?? Woke up. Did school run. Had cup of tea… yawn).

Anyway, I have issues compressing my thoughts into soundbites. Why use 140 characters when 1400 would do? Why 1400 when 14,000 would be even better? I burble, babble and bibble. I don’t get to the point except via an extremely roundabout route that takes in several places of interest and incidentally points out the pretty scenery.

PLUS. I am the technological equivalent of Wilma Flintstone. I don’t have a SmartPhone. I barely know what one is. I use my phone to (gasp!) make and receive calls. I send texts but only started that recently. I quite like the handy camera in a phone function, but I still forget to use it. That’s it. I wouldn’t know how to get online on my phone and have still to set up voicemail. I call my daughter to get the number to check my balance (in my defence there, I switched carriers to join them – I did know the number on my old carrier!).

The only plus point in its favour is that you don’t have time to get distracted. Type, post, bang, done. It’s taken me an hour to type this, I’ve lost my train of thought several times, I know I had another point to make but that’s gone.

Ally wouldn’t give up on me though, and forced me to join the Tweeple. See that? They have their own damn vocabulary. Even joining is a clique experience. You are asked to give an URL with no explanation of what that is – is that my blog? My fb address? Oh! You mean what the URL would be once I join, to find my profile, i.e. a USERNAME! Why not just say so??

That 140 character limit has also brought back the dreaded and dreadful text-speak. Lyk b4, cr8ive splling. Ugh. There’s an entire dictionary that I as a twewbie now have to learn, plus entire realms of twetiquette about hashes and @ and whatever else. It’s twerrible (what, is that not a real twit word? Bloody should be).

So, I’ve now joined the Tweeting majority. Sigh. I need people to follow so feel free to let me know who you are in that world so I can add you!

(Am now eyeing tumblr, why not, ‘eh?)

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Pity, not Party

"I mourn the loss of thousands of precious lives, but I will not rejoice in the death of one, not even an enemy.” – Jessica Dovey*

“That old law about 'an eye for an eye' leaves everybody blind.” – Martin Luther King

I remember ten years ago. I remember talking with a friend on MSN who could see the Towers from her work, her absolute shock and horror as she watched the carnage unfold. I remember talking with friends who’d lost loved ones, family and friends. I remember my autistic daughter being terrified and not knowing any words to help her to cope with it.

I remember six years ago when it happened closer to home, deep underground trapped in tunnels, and then on an ordinary London bus travelling its mundane usual route.

I remember watching news reports of terrorists, dissidents, fundamentalists and ordinary people, dancing in the streets in joy and elation. That was shocking… dancing at other people’s pain. The world condemned the attacks and the glee.

I can’t understand the glee now. Ignoring the conspiracy theories for now, the news reports that a man died. His family and staff died. Thousands of people around the world have died. This is a time for closure and reflection, not celebration.

I know many people won’t understand this, but many more will. I hope that those who have been directly affected by his actions find some peace in current events.

Insha’Allah, Deo volente.

*Not MLK

Friday, 15 April 2011

City Hospital

Babe’s ongoing medical traumas continue… she’s been referred to City hospital which luckily is only an hour or so away by car. Her first appointment there was the other week. So she and I and Himself piled in the car and off we went. Drive drive drive.

“Are we nearly there yet?”

”I need a wee.”

“I’m hungry.”

“Are we there NOW?”

(That was just me. Yes, I am an annoying passenger.)

We also had the usual row about the best way to get to City (my way was naturally far superior, my second route was okay. He went his way, and we ended up stuck in one way systems and at red lights. Just saying.)

Finally arrive at hospital and Babe is actually bursting, so I end up leaving Himself and rushing her off to find a loo. Mistake number one, apparently. Turn up at the paediatric clinic to find an officious snotty petty <coughcough>Sorry choked on bile there. To find the nurse demanding a urine sample and don’t I know that of course I would need one, isn’t it obvious… well, no, actually. No other hospital has asked for one. She’s just been, no way I can get a sample off her. Let’s try forcing water down her…

Except, we can’t. Because actually, nurse not included, the City hospital is, like, awesome, mom! I swear it looks like a playgroup. It has craft tables. Art. Outdoor play. Computers. Doll’s houses *with furniture*!!!!!! Toys with some parts still attached!!!!!!!!!! (Non NHS readers can only wonder about the amazement here; those of us who have endured the NHS will understand my shock). Babe is off, and we have to corral her to actually see a doctor.

The doctor is fairly amazing; he explains things without condescending, he is patient and even cracks the odd joke. Wow. So far so marvellous, ‘eh? Except… well, we went in expecting to hear a) let’s wait and see if she grows out of it or b) we need to do a small op and then she’ll be cured. The prospect of a c) that would blindside us so completely never actually occurred to me. Silly me.

She has a word-I’ve-never-heard-of blah blah. It’s quite rare apparently so we need to repeat all the tests blah blah. If they find what they are expecting they’ll just pop the kidney out (and omfg did he just suggest a nephrectomy on my BABY???????).  And they want to REPEAT those tests that she hated??? Awwww crap.

I walked out shellshocked.

Babe however, walked out singing. “I love that place! I want another point-ment! Hospital is sooo fun!” At least she’s happy, huh?

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

How is this fair?

The ultimate insult. It isn’t “You’re a bad mother”. It isn’t “I think I saw a marquee that might fit you.” It isn’t even “You’re that bad in bed… snore.”

It is “Excuse me, Young Lady <Herk, herk, herk>.”

I’m not even forty yet. Some whippersnapper approached me in the street about to ask for.. oh I don’t know. Charity subscriptions?? Free samples of anti-wrinkle cream? A Kays catalogue??? And his opening line was a smirk and “Excuse me Young Lady”. Yeah. I thought that was something you said to OLD people, not young, cool and fit me*!

I’m gutted. Almost cried there and then. Bastard.

*Two out of three and all that. Shut UP.

And to make matters worse… I needed to crop a picture of Himself and some of the sprogs. Opened it in Photoshop. Opened a second window. Dragged a layer over to start cropping and Himself’s face filled my screen. Words… fail. THIS is what I saw.

alanHe barely looks old enough to vote. How??? How is this FAIR??